You want sprinkles with that?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity, appearing as a man with a double plumed headdress, or ram-headed, or frog-headed, is the god Amun. His cult centres are Thebes and Hermopolis Magna, his attributes being: king of gods, primeval, hidden power. (Amun)

I have often heard people say something to the effect, an artwork is never finished. I don’t know if that is a clever thing to say, or something a dullard might say when trying to sound clever. It was probably originally said by Leonardo da V, he was quite bright apparently…
Anyway, let me start rambling here; the above phrase might apply at some point.
I have recently returned to lino printing – it comes and goes does lino printing; over about two or three months I might get into the swing of it and knock out three or four of them, and then there will be a long gap before I do any more. I wonder if it is seasonal?
A week or two ago I drew a design for one on a piece of A4 sketch pad paper. I tinkered with it for a day or two, added bits, erased bits, whited bits out with a correction pen, until I thought that it was, ‘alright…’
Then using good old carbon paper I transferred the image onto the lino and commenced the more physical side of things, the slicing, and gouging, and chiselling. It’s funny, but when you are doing the cutting you completely ignore what it is going to look like when printed – like an automaton, you just stick to the marks you have made and cut away theΒ  bits that will be white, and create the ‘islands’ which will carry the ink and be black.
I then got out my tube of ink and roller and stuff and printed a run of ten on nice thin Japanese Kizuki paper, about A4 size, plus one ‘artist’s proof’. Here it is:

Hm, that’s alright… nicely confusing isn’t it?…
Then of course you let them dry and you have one of them kicking around somewhere in the house, so that you can admire it and remind yourself how clever you are every time you glimpse it.
Yes, however – during that period you might notice things on it which ‘aren’t quite right’, or something which could have been ‘better’ – isn’t it always the way!
If it was a drawing or a painting you could tweak it and fiddle with it (and possibly ruin it!) there’s no rule against that. But with prints you have burned your boats. If you alter the block now and reprint you invalidate the prints you have just produced (‘invalidate’ is a pretty strong word isn’t it? When nobody actually buys and collects your work it hardly matters does it?). Should you change the block and rip up the prints you have done?…
Obviously on the block you can’t add any more black areas, you can’t glue lino back on! But you can add white features by cutting more lino away.
I lived with this print for three or four days and thought that it was fine, and that I should be happy with it, but also that it might be just a little bit ‘plain’, and might need some ‘livening up’. I dusted off the discarded block and, in carefree state of mind (it didn’t matter what happened to the block from here on, the prints had been done) I cheerfully removed more lino and thus added some more white detail. Yes, this would be another ‘version’ – another edition of prints. I did a run of nine plus one AP.

What do you think dear reader? It certainly looks ‘prettier’ and possibly more ‘Christmassy’ than the first version – ah, but perhaps it has also lost something…
On looking at this new one, the phrase, You want sprinkles with that? popped into my head…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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12 Responses to You want sprinkles with that?…

  1. Rebecca says:

    I like both versions very much, but suspect that if I was pressed (or offered one), I would choose plain. I’m taken by the strong deco feeling, combined with a very appealing maziness (maybe that’s not a word). πŸ™‚

  2. Oh how I have missed your posts! Now this print makes me think of a black hole in space, and the fact of the big X, is as if nobody is allowed to fall down there! And version 2 is much better. More sparkle and life about it! πŸ˜€ (Looking at it again, I am inclined to think of Space Rainbows……yes I’ll just be off then)

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Version 2 much better eh? I’m still undecided – I think No 2 is ‘prettier’ and it also has another ‘depth’ thing going that No 1 doesn’t have – where you can see the ‘stars’ through the ‘rings’… but still… Hm… Now, where was I?…
      Thank you Scribbler!

  3. Dana Doran says:

    Sprinkles please! …the addition of which accentuates the woven structure of the arches and adds dimension-ality. (Don’t google that “word” it might not really exist, but I think you get my drift?) I do like it very much!

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Oh, I think the word ‘dimensionality’ exists, but without the hyphen – me, I’d use it any time!
      And yes, I just mentioned that dimensionality ‘depth’ thing in reply to Scribbleartie.
      Thank you Dana!…

  4. twallisstone says:

    Oooo …decisions – decisions! The first one is so bold. This is good. However, I can totally understand about revisiting the design. (Been there too! Tried adding hot glue to fill in miscarvings – kinda works). I really like the second design’s “dimension-ality”. (Thanks Dana for the word.)

    • Dave Whatt says:

      ‘Dimensionality’ indeed!
      I have occasionally resorted to repairing the mistakes in the lino with a little bit of car body filler – messy, but it seems to work.
      Thank you TWS!…

  5. Jheron Bash says:

    Well, I’ve reflected on this at some length … I like them both but actually prefer the original. Must be the dimensionality! But actually I think it’s that the “sprinkles” make me think of snowflakes & Christmas cards which detract from the geometric clarity. Just saying,

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Hm… I know…
      Actually I love Christmas cards with snow scenes, coaches and horses pulling up outside jolly brightly lit taverns as the sun goes down, revellers chucking snowballs, toffs in top hats, etc…

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